A job interview is your opportunity to stand out to a potential employer. An employer is not only evaluating your professional skills, but they want to know what motivates you and if your personality and work style are a good cultural fit. When interviewing, your one goal should be to get the job offer, or at least, an additional interview. Follow the tips below to help you land the job!
1. Be Prepared
Print a copy of your resume and list of references for each person you will be interviewing with in advance. It’s also important to research the company before arriving for the interview. The company’s website, annual reports, press releases, social media sites, trade journals and your recruiter may be good sources of information to start with.
While it may seem obvious, don't forget to prepare the answers to the following standard interview questions:
- Tell me about yourself.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Why should I hire you?
- What has been your most important accomplishment?
- What are your professional goals?
- How would your last boss or colleagues describe you?
- Why do you want to leave your current job?
An interview is also your opportunity to dig deeper into the role and organization. Consider asking the interviewer the following:
- What are your expectations for the candidate filling this position?
- How long have you been in your role?
- What do you like best about this role?
- Do you have any concerns about my qualifications? -- This gives you an opportunity to discuss why you are qualified for the job.
2. Practice Clear Communication
Remember the following tips when communicating with a potential employer:
- Listen carefully and provide concise answers.
- Avoid providing simple “yes” or “no” answers.
- Don’t hesitate to ask for a moment to think about a question or ask the interviewer to clarify.
- Always speak positively about former employers and experiences.
- Relate your work experience directly to the needs of the organization and provide examples of past accomplishments that effectively demonstrate your abilities.
- Save questions about salary, benefits and vacation time for discussion after you have received an offer.
3. Be Professional
A first impression on a job interview can determine whether you land a job, so use the first five seconds to look and sound professional. Don’t forget the following “rules of professionalism”:
- Arrive 10-15 minutes early and allow at least two hours for your interview.
- Turn off cell phones and electronic devices.
- Do not chew gum.
- Keep your personal items in your left hand so you are free to shake hands with your right.
- Only refer to your interviewer by the name they provided in their introduction.
- Be polite, alert and relaxed.
- Maintain eye contact and always remember to smile.
- Watch your posture and body language as not to distract your interviewer.
- Don’t be afraid to be enthusiastic about the opportunity and express your genuine interest about the position and company.
- Project self confidence by speaking positively about your abilities, experience and willingness to acquire new skills.
- Be honest and sincere, and try to put a positive spin on any negative topics.
- Dress professionally and conservatively, considering the following:
- Light colored shirts and dark suits are most appropriate.
- Avoid loud colors, prints, strong perfumes/cologne or anything else that may be distracting.
- Practice good personal hygiene.
4. Close the Interview
Before leaving the interview don’t forget to thank the interview for their time and express your interest in the company and the position. As a best practice, send a brief thank you note to the interviewer within a week and remind them of your interest in the role.
What are the top tips that have helped YOU?!